Checkoff News

USB Launches Soy Innovation Challenge to Increase Value for Soybean Meal

Two farmers stand in a soybean field and point to a black iPad.

Challenge will foster innovations that further markets for U.S. soybean farmers.

ST LOUIS (Oct. 25, 2022) — The United Soybean Board (USB) and The Yield Lab Institute (YLI) challenge companies to create innovations that increase the use and value of soybean meal in existing markets through the Soy Innovation Challenge.

“Soybean oil demand is increasing as a feedstock for renewable energy, creating unique opportunities for soybean farmers. But an increase in expanded crush for oil means higher meal supply. With U.S. soybean meal’s strong reputation as a high value product, additional pathways are necessary to advance consumption both domestically and internationally,” said Ralph Lott, USB Chair and farmer from New York.

The Soy Innovation Challenge will enhance the value of soybean meal in existing markets and uses by targeting:

  • Innovations that increase use and value for soybean meal in animal agriculture, aquaculture, pet foods and soyfoods for human consumption.
  • Innovations that advance the commercial viability of existing uses and segments in both food and feed spaces, overcoming the technical challenges of increasing soybean meal usage.
  • Innovations that advance the transportability and storage viability of soybean meal.

“With clear sustainability differentiators, such as soil health and land stewardship, this competition has the potential to create unique revenue streams for U.S. soybean farmers in meeting customers’ evolving preferences,” said Mac Marshall, USB vice president of market intelligence. “Sustainability is the future of our industry, and these new innovations will enhance the profit opportunities for our farmers.” 

Soybean meal is used as a feed ingredient for animal agriculture. These markets are limited by demand constraints of poultry and livestock volume, competition from alternative ingredients, storage capacity and transportation challenges. The Soy Innovation Challenge aims to solve these problems.

The application period is open October 25 through December 6. USB and YLI invite ag-tech startups, project/research teams and groups to submit applications online. This includes entities that operate in the soybean meal value chain and have an innovative solution that can enhance known uses and markets of soybean meal. The challenge is sponsored by USB and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The selected teams will compete for:

  • $170,000 in cash prizes courtesy of USB.
  • $5,000 in in-kind technical services and credits per finalist courtesy of AWS.

All selected teams will receive mentoring and resources to help advance their ideas in the areas of technical, business and financial impact.

“With a favorable market for soy, an increased interest in enhancing the existing value of soybean meal is often forgotten in the equation. This innovation challenge will uncover ideas and technologies that will drive more value for soybean meal and its constituents within existing markets and uses. This is truly an exercise in circular economy and optimizing the bean,” said Brandon Day, COO of YLI.

About United Soybean Board
United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-leaders work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers create value by investing in research, education and promotion with the vision to deliver sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day across the three priority areas of Infrastructure & Connectivity, Health & Nutrition, and Innovation & Technology. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit

About The Yield Lab Institute
The Yield Lab Institute is a non-profit, agtech think tank focused on supporting, advancing global agtech startups, entrepreneurs and ecosystems. The Institute’s initiatives include open innovation challenges (The Soy Innovation Challenge, The Sustainable Agtech Challenge and more), ecosystems assessments (e.g. Rosario, Argentina, Piracicaba, Brazil, East and West Africa) and technical studies (e.g. St. Louis soilless ag white paper co-published with the WWF).  The Institute is the non-profit arm of The Yield Lab Group, a global federation of venture capital funds that invest in early stage agtech.  For more information, please visit The Yield Lab Institute.



Paul Murphy-Spooner at United Soybean Board, 515.975.6584.

Brandon Day at The Yield Lab Institute, 831.809.0755

How did you like this article?

Loading spinner